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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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5 Lessons Learned on a Sled

Sledding is a really fun family activity! Unless you enjoy having all your teeth, and being able to operate your limbs the following day.

Okay, nobody lost any teeth, but we did take the kids sledding, and I did learn a thing or two, which I might as well share with you as long as I'm lying here on the couch with heating pads on the aching parts of my body and ice packs on the bruised parts.


Oh, and let's not forget Lesson Number 6: It seems like I already learned all these things last year, but by next year I'll probably forget and agree to go sledding again. Like an idiot.

As I remember it, the winters of my childhood were spent gleefully careening down various slopes, happily climbing hills repeatedly in the footholds carved by 1000 boot steps, and trotting after my plastic sled when the icy wind whipped it out of my hands and sent it skittering across a plain of crusted-over, knee-deep snow - all with a smile frozen over my chattering teeth and frostbitten face.

Today's kids? Not so much. Exhibit A: You can see my husband and baby coming down the hill in the background of that list graphic. One of the best parts of the whole outing, I think, was the fact that she refused to smile the whole time - but after each exciting trip down the hill, when her sled gently eased to a full stop, she'd deliver a blank-faced deadpan, "Fun."

That was the single greatest endorsement the afternoon received. Aside from the hot chocolate.

Don't get me wrong, we all had a good time, and the kids were pretty good sports about the salt-infused slushy snow, and the eardrum-piercing music being blasted by the DJ (yes, even snowy hills have DJs these days). But still, there was more than a little whining.
They claimed the "sleds" - actually giant, plush innertubes - were too bulky and heavy to tote around. They were not impressed with stories about the old sled I had at their age, which was a rectangle of plastic 3 millimeters thick that rolled back up into a tube the minute you got off it.
Their little legs got tired, walking up the gentle incline from the baby hill. They were not comforted when I pointed out that, if the ground were flat, it would be pretty difficult to get any sledding momentum going.
The hills all looked too scary and high, but after they slid down them they said their sleds didn't go fast enough or far enough. They were not amused by my offer to alter the properties of gravity and inertia on their behalf to allow for their exact desired speed from a less dizzying 2 inches off the ground.
So, yeah, a tiny bit of whining. Although, come to think of it, I probably would've whined too if my idyllic childhood memories were overlaid with a 4,000-decibel Nickelback soundtrack.

Now I just whine because, apparently, I'm too old for sledding.

Oh, and also because of the Nickelback.

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27 comments:

  1. Good reminders, Robyn. Our "sledding" has consisted of taking lil man on a stroll around the block, seeing as though we have ONE hill within reasonable proximity. And yes, I live in the third largest city in the United States ;) It is, however, a great excuse for skipping the gym, especially if you try picking up your dog's poop at the same time!

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    1. It is a good workout, even if those pesky glaciers did flatten out our hills in the upper Midwest. ;)

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  2. Who wouldn't want to sled without listening to Nickelback. You, know, I think I want to go sledding now...unfortunately, I have no earbuds to plug in my Nickelback, wait, I guess I have no Nickelback, either. *shoot*

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    1. Dang it! Well, you can borrow some of my Nickelback, it's still ringing in my ears.

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  3. Just voted. I just rediscovered sledding. As a kid, we used to go sledding down a CONSTRUCTION mound filled with twigs, brush, rocks, and mud. We'd come home bloodied & scraped. My husband was always all, "Let's go sledding!" and I was all "Nope." I FINALLY went and the complete exhilaration I felt sailing down a SMOOTH snow mound was fantastic. My husband said I looked like I was 5 years old. Who knew????

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    1. That's so cool! I do think a lot of times sledding is more fun as an adult - it takes longer to recover from the bumps and scrapes, but kids get a thrill from just about everything (jumping on the bed, anyone?) whereas grown-ups hardly ever get that kind of exhilaration. ;)

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  4. I'm afraid to let my boys go sledding on any kind of serious hill. My brother broke his leg when he was six and was in a full cast all winter. And a little girl we know smashed into a tree and is paralyzed now. Scary.

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    1. omg, Kathy, that's terrifying! There are so many things I did when I was a kid that I'd be afraid to let my kids do now... This sledding was the modern super-safe kind; the town next to ours closes a street down and brings snow in to build the hills every year. The whole fire department is there, and there's nothing to run into. Pretty tame compared to the sledding of yore, but a lot safer, too.

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  5. I never liked sledding as a kid, but our hill was rustic at best. I haven't taken the kids, mostly because I don't want to haul their sled up the hill. Let's just have the hot chocolate, shall we?

    I loved your baby's "Fun" endorsement! Hilarious.

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    1. Ah yes, "rustic" is right! Plus there are always those years when the snow is sparse and the sledding is mostly mudding, and the years when the snow is so deep you need a team of rescue dogs to come find you. I'll go for the hot chocolate, too. ;)

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  6. So funny. I've never been sledding or skiing (that's what happens when you grow up in GA where it does not snow. Ever.) But it's not even something I want to do or introduce to my son to. It seems it would be a lot of cold and a lot of whining....so I'll just stick to the boring stuff. :)

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    1. Boring is all relative, though - growing up with snowy winters is no guarantee you'll love winter activities. I won't go skiing because humans weren't intended to travel that fast on foot. Plus I'm clumsy. My son has lived in the midwest all his life, and he only likes being outside until there's snow in his boot or four seconds have passed, whichever comes sooner. I think either one of us would happily come do some boring GA stuff. ;)

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  7. Ha! Babies do hate getting bundled up for any reason. And the hot cocoa is the best part, so let's all skip the snow and just make cocoa.

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    1. Now there's a winter activity I can get behind!

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  8. I always loved sledding! And maybe she only had a deadpan expression because her face froze like that?

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  9. So ridiculously funny!! Your description of the baby at the end of every run made me burst out laughing!!

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    1. Thanks! It made me laugh too, when she did it, especially since that was the first time she'd ever used the word "fun." It figures a child of mine would introduce new words in the most sarcastic way possible.

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  10. My first sledding adventure of the season resulted in the following tweet the next morning.


    "Also, I am too old to sled."

    I could only send that tweet because my iphone was on the night table, i.e within easy reach - because for the next 2 days? pretty much nothing was in "easy reach".
    Oh...also good tip: if your kids say "hey, let's all hold hands and go down together in a chain?!!" Nay, nay.
    Heavier objects tend to descend faster, which means if you are holding their hands...... congratulations, you've now executed a perfect 180 turn at 145 km per hour and are now reverse sledding.
    Not awesome!

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    1. Oh no, (stifles giggle) that's terrible! No, seriously, if that happened to me I'd probably freak out, maybe even try to jump off my sled and make it worse, or attempt fruitlessly to yank the whole line back around forward thus ruining any alignment my spine had previously enjoyed. But I hate to admit it, hearing you talk about it was pretty dang funny. ;)

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  11. OMG, I so loved sledding as a kid! We lived on a farm in the country, we had a few good hills in the area, and all the kids would get together and create an ICE path. We would go to the amount of work of packing down the snow then hauling water and poring down so we could run the good wooden runner sleds that could take a finger off in like a millisecond! And the saucer sleds were metal as well. We had the plastic ones too, but they were never as good, or fast, or well dangerous. We used the plastic ones to pull behind four-wheelers and snowmobiles. I know right even more dangerous! But having motorized towing and hauling available really helped make those ice runs, and to haul people and sleds back to the top of the hill. And if there was only a few storms in a winter, and no long snow season, then it was best to just hook them plastic sleds to a four-wheeler and tare it up! All plastic sleds needed replaced every year! They were so smashed, cracked, demolished it is amazing we are still alive cause there were kids in them sleds when they got that damage.

    I sometimes wonder how we survived! I mean we all have all our limbs, no one ever got seriously hurt, and some of those four-wheelers and snowmobiles can really hit the speeds, like 60mph plus! So I was always hoping that my niece and nephew and our clan would never start towing sleds..... Nope! They tried it out this year! It scared my step-kids to death and they won't do it anymore, one wouldn't even try it. Niece and Nephew will and have repeated lots!! Funny thing is the towing 4-wheeler only tops out at like 25mph..... Lord we must have been hard core tough guys as kids! All the kids today are nothing but whiny sissys, and only want to stay inside and drink Coco! And we were unknowingly trying to kill ourselves by way snow, frostbite, or a plastic sled shard stabbing!

    Now I want to go home and have my niece drag my old ass around on a plastic sled until my fingers are considering falling off, then go in and sit and thaw in front of the fire with some Coco.

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    1. Man, that sounds like SO much fun! You're right, we never gave a thought to danger back then - and there was some dangerous stuff going on. I forgot about the saucer sleds! Somebody was always trying to use a plastic one with a huge crack in the bottom.

      You made me want to get out there and sled again! :)

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  12. Snowy hills are nature's way of weeding out clumsy people. Best. Line. Ever.

    I am not a winter sports person, but, I will gladly wave, feign excitement and give thumbs up from my cozy spot indoors.

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    1. I'll be right next to you - I'd hate to think of you not having anyone there to clink glasses with. ;)

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  13. OK, we used to have a bon fire at the top of our big neighborhood hill and even a dude in a truck to "bring us around" but I aint NEVER heard of no DJ at a sledding hill. That is the strangest thing I have ever heard (about sledding). And Nickleback?? Seriously?? I'd have had to go kick that guy in the junk. I am with you and Bethany, inside, fire, wine, chatting, observing the occasional face plant outside. I hate cold - come on summer - boating, now that's where it's at! <3 Devan

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    1. I've always loved summer, but this indoor faceplant-watching with you guys sounds pretty awesome. Add in the fact that winter clothes afford full body coverage, and I think I might have a new favorite! ;)

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  14. Situated at the fringe of short distance to city, Sant Ritz
    at Potong Pasir (Singapore) in District 13. the interlace condo

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